Authors: Jennifer Chiaverini
ALSO BY JENNIFER CHIAVERINI
A Quilter’s Holiday
The Lost Quilter
The Quilter’s Kitchen
The Winding Ways Quilt
The New Year’s Quilt
The Quilter’s Homecoming
Circle of Quilters
The Christmas Quilt
The Sugar Camp Quilt
The Master Quilter
The Quilter’s Legacy
The Runaway Quilt
The Cross-Country Quilters
The Quilter’s Apprentice
Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts:
The True Story Behind the Quilt
More Elm Creek Quilts: Inspired by the Elm Creek Quilts Novels
Return to Elm Creek: More Quilt Projects Inspired by
the Elm Creek Quilts Novels
Elm Creek Quilts: Quilt Projects Inspired by
the Elm Creek Quilts Novels
An Elm Creek Quilts Novel
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are
products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2010 by Jennifer Chiaverini
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof
in any form whatsoever. For information address Simon & Schuster Subsidiary Rights
Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition April 2010
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Endpaper designs by Melanie Marder Parks
Designed by Kyoko Watanabe
Manufactured in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The aloha quilt : an Elm Creek Quilts novel / Jennifer Chiaverini.
1. Compson, Sylvia (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Quilting—Fiction.
3. Quiltmakers—Fiction. 4. Quilts—Fiction. 5. Divorce—Fiction.
6. Hawaii—Fiction. 7. Domestic fiction. I. Title.
To Denise Roy
I am grateful to Denise Roy, Maria Massie, Kate Ankofski, Kimberly Cowser, Mara Lurie,
Kate Lapin, and Melanie Parks for their contributions to
The Aloha Quilt
and their ongoing support of the Elm Creek Quilts series.
Thanks also to Tara Shaughnessy, who helped care for my sons during the time I wrote
this book, and to my teammates from Just For Kicks, Oh-Thirty, and Más Cervesas for
providing me with great workouts, camaraderie, and stress relief.
I offer a heartfelt
to the people of Hawaii who generously shared their stories with me and showed me
the true meaning of the
spirit, especially Dan and Amy Martin, my hosts at Ho‘oilo House in Lahaina; Suzanne
Ayers of the Baldwin House for her informative and intriguing discussions of Lahaina’s
history; Höküao Pellegrino of the Kamehameha Schools Enrichment Department for help
with the Hawaiian language; Eva Humphrey and Peter Delapinia of Mele Ukulele for their
suggestions, demonstrations, and a delightful concert; and Mandy Kaili of the Maui
Historical Society for answering my questions about
I offer hugs and thanks to the friends and family who never fail to support and encourage
me, especially Geraldine Neidenbach, Heather Neidenbach, Nic Neidenbach, Leonard and
Marlene Chiaverini, Brian Grover, and my boys, Marty, Nicholas, and Michael Chiaverini.
The Aloha Quilt
From the bedroom doorway, Sylvia Bergstrom Compson Cooper regarded the taped and labeled
cartons Bonnie had stacked against the walls, leaving only a narrow aisle between
the bed and the bureau. “It might feel more like home sweet home if you unpacked.”
“I don’t have time,” said Bonnie, shoving a box of sweaters under the bed for storage.
Though it was October, she wouldn’t need them where she was going. “I have too much
to do before my flight.”
Sylvia picked her way through the clutter to the center of the room and studied the
mess, frowning thoughtfully over the tops of her glasses, which hung from a silver
chain around her neck. “If you like, I can unpack for you while you’re away.”
“Oh, no, Sylvia. Please don’t go to all that trouble.”
“It’s no trouble. I’ll enlist a few of the other Elm Creek Quilters to help and we’ll
spread the work over a few days.”
Sylvia didn’t need to add that they would have lots of time to finish the job before
Bonnie’s return—too much time, thought Bonnie’s friends, who agreed that she needed
away but perhaps not one of such long duration.
“I’ll take care of it when I get back.” Bonnie smiled to take the sting out of her
refusal. “I’m not moving in permanently, remember?”
“The invitation stands if you change your mind,” Sylvia assured her. “You’ll always
have a home at Elm Creek Manor, even if you only want it long enough to get back on
Bonnie thanked her, wondering which of her friends would next offer to take her in.
The apartment in Grangerville had never been a real home, just a wayside between the
condo she had once shared with her now-estranged husband, Craig, and wherever she
might settle after her return to Pennsylvania in the spring. Sylvia had convinced
her that it made no sense to keep renting an apartment for her belongings when she
could store them at Elm Creek Manor for free, so Bonnie had cancelled her month-to-month
lease. She had needed no more than a day to pack up the apartment, not only because
the Elm Creek Quilters helped her, but also because after moving out of the condo,
she had unpacked only the necessities and left everything else in boxes.
Somehow she must have known that she was not meant to stay.
“I might decide to make the manor my home,” Bonnie said, stacking a laundry basket
full of quilt fabric on top of a carton of old photo albums. “I honestly haven’t thought
it through. I’ve had too much on my mind and I can’t plan so many steps ahead.”
“A change of scenery and new challenges will do you good,” said Sylvia.
“I’m counting on that.” Bonnie shoved a box out of the way with her foot and sat down
on the bed, absently patting the Windblown Square quilt for comfort. A few years before,
she had been blindsided when she caught Craig carrying on a cyber-affair with a younger
woman, but after recovering from her shock, she had fought to save her marriage. She
had thrown herself into an exercise program, lost twenty pounds, had her dark curls
trimmed into a flattering new style, and had endured fellow Elm Creek Quilter Diane’s
coaching about the best clothes for her curvy frame and makeup for her ruddy complexion.
According to her friends, she looked better than she had in years—younger, fitter,
more attractive—but even then she had known that a successful makeover alone wouldn’t
be enough to rekindle Craig’s affection.
Through marriage counseling and countless date nights, Craig had led her to believe
they were reconciling and rebuilding, but all the while he was secretly hiding his
assets for the divorce only he had known was inevitable. To make matters worse, he
had told their children that she had abandoned him, that the divorce was her idea,
that he was as confused and distraught as they were, that he deserved their sympathy
and Bonnie their anger. C.J., their eldest son, knew their father too well to believe
it, their daughter, Tammy, refused to take sides, and their youngest son, Barry, was
far too credulous where his father was concerned. Bonnie didn’t push it. The very
thought of engaging in a battle for the hearts and minds of their three grown children
exhausted her. She didn’t have the energy to persuade her kids that Craig was wrong
and she was right. Now that she had accepted that her marriage was over, all she wanted
was to put the whole ugly situation behind her and to move on.
To feel good again. To return to the happy, contented woman she had once been and
now only vaguely remembered. But how could she heal when even the protective walls
of Elm Creek Manor triggered so many painful memories?
She had despaired of ever doing so until her old friend
Claire phoned with an invitation as wonderful as it was unexpected. Bonnie rarely
saw her former college roommate except at college reunions, but Claire kept in touch
with chatty letters mailed from military bases in different foreign countries as she
followed her officer husband from post to post. When he had retired from the service,
they settled in Hawaii, having fallen in love with the island paradise while Eric
had been stationed in Oahu earlier in his career. For the past several years, Claire
had run a quilt shop on Maui, and when an opportunity came to expand the business,
Claire contacted the long-time friend who had introduced her to quilting to enlist